I’m very picky with whom I give my energy to. I prefer to reserve my time, intensity, and spirit exclusively for those who reflect sincerity. –Dau Voire
I have been wanting to write this post for days. I have a somewhat strange process with these types of posts – I will mull over them for days, even weeks at a time and reach back into my archives to start “formulating” the post before I ever sit down to put it on digital paper.
So that’s what I’ve been doing…
The post idea came to me about 3-4 days ago when I was doing something that I’m often found guilty of doing – second-glancing or re-thinking something I’ve said, posted, shared, or otherwise expressed. It is a constant in my life – it never stops.
One of the reasons for that is my intense introversion. The other reason is my naturally intense and strong personality. I know that people misunderstand me a LOT and there’s nothing I can do about it. I know what my motives and intentions are, and I know where my heart is.
I saw a quote on Pinterest recently that said “When people understand your energy, there’s no need to question your intention.” I wish that were truly how it happened, but it doesn’t. No matter how well someone may say they know your heart in life, they will question your intentions at some point. We have to get comfortable with this process as strong, intense people.
My clients have benefited greatly from my personality – it is one of the reasons I’m able to do the work that I do helping others be increasingly assertive in their life, be comfortable in their own skin and communicate who they are to the world in their version of “better.”
Maybe you can relate to being misunderstood, over-thinking a lot, and constantly (and I do mean constantly) dealing with “the inside voice” – the one telling you you’ve shared/said/expressed too much – tone it down, honey!
Well….you know me – I have thoughts on this, and I want to share them in order to bring some perspective. The struggle is real for strong personalities, but you just need to arm yourself with some understanding, and you’ll be fine. As in all things, there’s different ways you can use your strong personality for the good or the negative, depending.
WHY THESE AREN’T SYNONYMS
Okay…..so a few weeks ago, I posted on Google+ my disgust with how the online thesaurus has ‘assertive’ listed with other synonyms. Can I be honest? It bugs me that they have some of these words in there. No wonder it’s difficult for people to be assertive or understand the difference between assertive communication and aggressive communication – these words are not synonymous with ‘assertiveness’ – at least not the way I teach it.
Pushy? No. Doesn’t have to be.
Domineering? I don’t like it. Not the same.
Militant? Come on people.
Overbearing. Again…..doesn’t need to be.
Not synonyms – not the way I see it. Those are all synonymous with aggression. HUGE difference.
Now that we’ve established some key differences between assertive vs. aggressive, I want to look at some of the main qualities of strong personality types. Lists can be dangerous, so this is not prescriptive or some type of typing system or paradigm I came up with – it’s just a list of the general qualities I’ve seen in personalities similar to my own that are clear to me, and I notice. One or all of them may apply to you…
- Constantly wonder if you should delete something you wrote/shared/expressed (not because you’re self-conscious, but more because you already know it could be misunderstood greatly and you’re not up to clarifying)
- You’re often misunderstood – more than most people you know – people are almost always mis-reading you, misinterpreting you, misquoting you or taking you the wrong way – it has become your way of life to know this about yourself
- A lot of people may not want to be around you – not because they don’t like the hell out of you, but because you are intense, confident, and it makes them uncomfortable, so they distance themselves
- The people who do want to be around you want to be around all the time – they can’t get enough of your passion, opinions, outlook on life, point of view, the way you think, etc. They want what you’ve got, so they hang out as much as possible – they’re not leaches but energy appreciators….
- People see you as ‘cocky‘ – don’t even get me started. :-)
- You are the “go-to” person in your inner circle for just about everything – people recognize your strengths and how they can benefit. You probably enjoy this immensely.
- You always have an opinion – and you’re okay even if that opinion is – “I’m not too sure.” You’ll express it. No egos here.
- You are dedicated to coloring outside the lines, and that bothers some people. Many people do not understand the way you live, the decisions you make for yourself or your family, and they do not think you’re “normal” (whatever that is).
- Your presence? It’s felt. Majorly. When you walk into a room, it’s not the same as when your average Joe (who we think is also cool for his own reasons) walks into the exact same room. There’s something about what you exude that people sense & feel and might even comment on if they aren’t used to feeling that kind of thing. It’s the intensity under your cool exterior, boo.
- People trust you.
Those are just a few of the strong personality traits I can think of – there are many more.
I’ve personally always had a super strong personality, regardless of my introversion. My silence often makes people uncomfortable (because they know I’m thinking intensely about something and not speaking it). My face never tells a tale, and I do not hide my truest feelings well – at all. I’ve gotten better, but this is not a bad thing anyway – there’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t hide your feelings well.
A poker face only matters if you’re interested in playing poker. I don’t even know how, and I’m good with that. (Click here to tweet this)
I want you to be too.
According to my Mom, even from the time I was a little girl, I was just, by nature, a very strong girl. She said she didn’t even have to ever worry about my brother (who is younger than me) because I knew what to do and I did it – without her permission. I held his bottle, told him when to cross the street, told him to be quiet in church, and how to sit in the car.
Most people with strong personalities have stories similar to or just like this one. And because I’m a person of paradox, I am also of the belief that leaders are both born and made, and assertiveness can both be taught and is an innate strength. Some people are naturally good at it – others need to learn it.
So what good, if any, can come of having a strong or intense personality? After all, you may feel a lot of the time like it’s a thorn in your side of sorts – or it repels people.
Here’s some key suggestions I want to leave you with because I know the daily mind-share that comes with a strong personality:
- Disconnect from approval. You need to do this as a strong personality type because otherwise, you’ll find yourself always relying on it to “strengthen” you over and over. Your very being is created this way, so remember that it’s innate – it needs nothing from the outside nor anyone to validate it or stamp it with approval. Every time you feel that creeping up, remember this advice and disconnect.
- Learn how to be an exquisite communicator. Strong personalities don’t tend to mince words, but they are keen on when, how, and why something needs to be said. Communication is the spice that flavors your personality.
- Use your strengths together for the biggest impact on people’s lives for the good. Strong personalities are usually really good at problem-solving and mediation. I encourage you to take this StrengthsFinder test and find out yours.
- For example, some of my strengths are a) maximizer, b) relator, and c) harmony. I have learned how to use them together well, both in my life and work to make the biggest impact in all the realms I go. I can combine my strong personality with harmony to help people solve an argument or lead major projects. I combine my intensity with maximizer to get work done for my business and make it go further than just the short-term. I combine my strong personality with the relator quality to show many different kinds of people I meet how much I want to more understand them and their life, struggles, stories, etc. Are you seeing the overlay?
- Understand that certain people will be drawn to you for the power and intensity they feel underneath. It’s then your decision who, how, when, and how often you want them in your space. This is the beauty of the strength you possess. You draw, but you also establish the boundaries.
I’d love your thoughts – specifically what resonated the most with you today about this and why? Do you have any ‘traits’ to add? If so, please share them with me.